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P1180478 (1).jpgWhen adult this juvenile Mute Swan will be all white with an orange-red beak. 

P1180479.jpgWhile I have photographed black swans here in Australia I was delighted to spot this young Mute Swan resting in Kensington Gardens, London, on a trip to the UK last year. Mute Swan adults are all white with orange-red beaks, they are the heaviest flying birds in the world, weighing up to 15 kilos. Contrary to its name the Mute Swan produces a range of vocalisations, including the hissing sound swans are famous for when threatened. The friend in the background is a Canada Goose.

P1180484.jpgI spotted this lovely chestnut water bird at Kensington Gardens in London. The information on their website to aid in identifying birds to the Gardens is very limited. The bird is not in my British Wildlife book either.. again this only has a limited coverage of birds. I think it is a Wandering Whistling-Duck at a different stage/gender as the bird in the post below. What do you think? For now I’m filing it in the bird log under WWD.

P1180481.jpgWater birds have many haunts, and while the Wandering Whistling-Duck is seen in north/west Australia I snapped this one in Kensington Gardens, London. Easily identified by the chestnut underparts, barred wings and cream side feathers. Not a great capture but as I don’t have another in my bird log making do. 

P1180468.jpgGrey Herons are global citizens, while they live in Australia I spotted this one, standing motionless as they are want to do, in Kensington Gardens, one of eight Royal Parks in the city of London, UK.

the native


P1180403.jpgNoisy Miners are fast becoming pests in Australia, but nevertheless they are living beings and like all parents their young are their priority. This nest, located in a small tree beside the house, enabled a clear view of the occupants and the comings and goings of the devoted parents who worked tirelessly to feed those ever demanding fledglings. I wonder which one got the worm!


castle guards

P1190071.jpgRosslyn Chapel was made famous in Dan Brown‘s novel The Da Vinci Codes that went on to become a much discussed movie. Last October on a visit to the UK I visited the Chapel while staying in what remains of Rosslyn Castle, once the St. Claire family home. The Castle is available to rent through the Landmark Trust and is located a short distance away from the Chapel on private land.


My bedroom, visible on the left upper story.

The Castle accommodation is a walk back in time, filled with old paintings, faded wall hangings and memorabilia, statues from the Chapel, descending dungeons and a few resident ghosts thrown in! I captured these Jackdaws from my window one morning, and while strictly speaking Rooks are associated with castles and belfrys, in this case it was Jackdaws that presented plenty of atmosphere as they swirled in large flocks overhead and cawed and chacked into the night. 

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